‘Canada-Unique’ MAX Flight Manual In The Works


Canadian authorities will conduct their own test flights of the Boeing 737 MAX before allowing it to fly in Canada and may also write their own supplement to the type’s flight manual. Top officials of Transport Canada appeared before a parliamentary committee studying Canada’s certification of the aircraft last week and said they will not be rubber-stamping the FAA’s recertification of the aircraft, which has been grounded for almost a year. “We are not bound exclusively with what the FAA comes out with,” said David Turnbull, director of national aircraft certification for Transport Canada. The flight manual supplement would describe “Canadian-unique” non-normal procedures, according to Reuters. Turnbull also indicated simulator training would be a requirement.

As for the flight tests, Nicholas Robinson, Canada director general of civil aviation, told the committee Transport Canada has “grown the amount of involvement we have” in the recertification of the MAX, which is operated by three Canadian airlines. It’s not clear what the scope of the flight test program will be but he said there will necessarily be heavy reliance on data supplied by the FAA because it would be far too time consuming and costly to duplicate all the testing. “We don’t have to throw the process out that we have right now,” said Turnbull. “It is scalable. Think of it like a volume button; when things happen like this we can turn the volume up, we can increase our involvement.” As with most countries, Canada doesn’t typically second-guess FAA certifications and in turn its certification procedures are accepted by the FAA. The FAA has said it expects to have the MAX approved for service in the first half of the year but it’s not clear if Canada’s additional work will delay its return to service there. Transport Canada has authorized more than 160 flights of the aircraft since the grounding for training and maintenance.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. So, what is it going to possibly say? “Stay out of that particular corner of the air?” The MCAS is going to be the most understood and un-rightly feared system in the aircraft. The code that is causing the problem, along with the AOA system is going to be squeaky clean. I doubt there will be a pilot in the world that can even recognize the 737-type, let alone a MAX, won’t know that at the first sign of trouble, hit the trim disconnect.

    • Mark, I am consistently flabbergasted by the insightful and intelligent nature of your comments. Your thoughts might drown a fly in their intellectual depth. Thank you for adding to the conversation as always.

      • Point is that any pilot that is clueless of MCAS, the physics involved, or the solution to a failure, is a bad pilot (or in Canada, a Hoser).

  2. I just hope the FAA is keeping score of what countries elect to “not take our word for it” on certification of the MAX. Further, I hope they return the favor when that nation wishes to certify their own ambitious design for flight in OUR precious airspace.

    Without reciprocity, global aviation falls into disarray.

    • Before we get into retribution mode we should step back and ponder why other countries may not want to “take our word for it” any longer. The FAA got too cozy with the industry they’re supposed to be regulating, and to put it bluntly, people died as a result.

      • Jim gets it.

        It’s not reciprocity that keeps the industry together, it’s trust. Reciprocity only works if you can trust your fellow regulators to conduct the level of oversight necessary to ensure safety. Trust was broken. It will need to be regained.

        • With the rash of accidents in Asia, maybe their maintenance and training should spark and investigation to restore “trust”?

      • >>we should step back and ponder why other countries may not want to “take our word for it” any longer

        Fair enough. Let’s take a look at which countries are having trouble accepting FAA approval. Hmmm, EASA, which regulates Airbus. Canada (Bombardier). China (State-owned aircraft manufacturers). Brazil (Embraer).

        Yes, it couldn’t possibly be political or competitive. Must be their doubt over good technical safety problems that elude the FAA.

        Nevermind that a joint board is participating in the recertification effort, and the FAA is accepting questions/comments/concerns from any world regulator as part of that process.

        EASA wants Boeing to find a place on the airplane to mount a third AOA vane. Let’s see, there’s left and there’s right. Where are we going to put AOA sensor #3?

  3. WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE relying on a “government stamp” or “certification” to insure safety. Let’s not forget that those same agencies certified it in the first place. They may have been wrong then–are they wrong NOW?

    The airlines–and the FAA–wanted all 737s to fly alike, so they could use mixed fleets and pilot certification. That meant artificial feel to make it fly like the older models–and Boeing complied.

    There’s nothing unique about “differences training” on many jets. Look at the first DC-9s–short airplane, no high-lift devices–a completely different airplane than the later DC-9s and Dash-80s–yet successfully operated by flight crews around the world with simple differences training.

    I don’t know a single 737 pilot that would refuse to fly the aircraft. Any (I guess I should insert the word “COMPETENT”) jet pilot knows better than to fight trim. Every jet pilot knows where the trim cutoff switch is. MAX aircraft have been ferried all over since the accidents–not one of them has fallen out of the sky.

    In Canada, they still have a big “mad-on” for Boeing on the Bombardier 220 fiasco. Look at Canadian Skies online magazine–they bash Boeing every chance they get. I’m fairly certain that the “we will accept the airplane, but put our unique conditions on it” is part of the issue. What trim conditions are unique to Canada? I live close to the Canadian border–and haven’t noticed that the air is any different up there than here in Minnesota.